Packers may have to rely on young receivers with Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison uncertain for Detroit
GREEN BAY — Randall Cobb’s hamstring injury is serious enough that he said Monday that he wasn’t even close to playing in the Green Bay Packers’ 22-0 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
That means the Packers receiving corps could have a decidedly youthful flavor for Sunday’s game at Detroit, with Cobb working his way back from the hamstring injury and Geronimo Allison in the concussion protocol after going down against the Bills.
“I wouldn’t have been able to play this week. As much as I would’ve wanted to, I couldn’t be out there running at full speed. So it’s no reason to take that risk,” Cobb said. “It’s feeling better. I made strides the past couple days and hopefully I can continue to make those strides.”
Cobb was coming off what he considered to be the worst game of his career, dropping a pair of crucial passes and losing a critical fourth-quarter fumble in the team’s Sept. 23 loss at Washington. Allison dropped three passes against the Bills before the last of his drops led to him taking a hard hit and missing the rest of the game.
With two wide receivers who’ve been in the league longer (Jake Kumerow, Trevor Davis) on injured reserve, the Packers’ next men up are rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling, J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown. Valdes-Scantling has played the most of the three, and while he incurred the wrath of quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday for a mistake he made on a pass that was nearly intercepted, Rodgers later went back to him for a 38-yard completion during the fourth quarter.
“They haven’t had much of an opportunity early in the season. Those opportunities are going to come and it’s all about just them being ready for them,” Cobb said. “I think they’re progressing, but it’s easy to say that in practice. When you get in games, it’s a different situation.”
McCarthy did not provide an update on Allison, who ranks second to No. 1 wide receiver Davante Adams on the team in receptions (19), leads the team in receiving yards (289) and has two touchdown catches, one fewer than Adams.
Against the Bills, Valdes-Scantling played extensively (54 of a possible 76 offensive snaps) while Moore saw his first action this season (11 snaps). Despite being a fourth-round pick — the highest pick of the three — Moore has been a healthy inactive for the first three games.
Asked how the rookie receivers looked against the Bills, McCarthy said they “did OK” and said Moore benefited from his limited snaps.
But McCarthy also said he doesn’t want Adams, who played all 76 snaps, to be on the field that much.
“Frankly, Davante playing 70-plus snaps, I think we’ve got to take a look at that moving forward and maybe give those (young) guys some opportunities,” McCarthy said. “Hey, it’s NFL. It’s Week 5, so they’ve got to get ready. They’re stepping into an offense that asks a lot of them. (But) that’s all part of the preparation process.”
Backfield in motion
McCarthy indicated he felt good about the breakdown of snaps Sunday for his three running backs.
Aaron Jones played 29 snaps, Jamaal Williams 28 and Ty Montgomery 20 — and that rotation will continue despite Jones’ production (11 carries, 65 yards, one touchdown).
“We understand there’s going to be about 1,100 snaps in the season and you want to be playing your best football at the end of the year, and running the football is a big part of playing at Lambeau Field,” McCarthy said. “Definitely, the goal is to have all three of those guys throughout the season.”
Cornerback Jaire Alexander insisted the groin injury that forced him to leave Sunday’s game is not going to sideline him at Detroit. … McCarthy said, after watching the film, he still felt very good about the defense’s performance, despite rookie quarterback Josh Allen’s obvious inexperience. “We get it. We’re playing against a different experience level quarterback this week,” McCarthy said of Detroit’s Matthew Stafford. “We get that he was a rookie in his third game. But we’re about ourselves. The best tape is of us doing it and it’s the National Football League. So we hit the target definitely on defense.”